Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Discovery In Worms Points To More Targeted Cancer Treatment

Date:
November 11, 2009
Source:
Queen's University
Summary:
Researchers have found a link between two genes involved in cancer formation in humans, by examining the genes in worms. The groundbreaking discovery provides a foundation for how tumor-forming genes interact, and may offer a drug target for cancer treatment.

Research on this microscopic worm (Caenorhabditis elegans) may offer a drug target for cancer treatment.
Credit: Ian Chin-Sang and Tony Papanicolaou

Researchers at Queen's University have found a link between two genes involved in cancer formation in humans, by examining the genes in worms. The groundbreaking discovery provides a foundation for how tumor-forming genes interact, and may offer a drug target for cancer treatment.

"When cancer hijacks a healthy system, it can create tumors by causing cells to divide when they shouldn't," says Ian Chin-Sang, a developmental biologist at Queen's and lead researcher on the study. "Certain genes control the normal movement and growth of cells, and by studying how these genes interact, we can understand what is abnormal when cancer is present."

There is an important gene in humans called PTEN that acts as a tumor suppressor. When the PTEN gene function is lost, it can lead to cancers. For example, 70-80 per cent of all prostate cancers have lost PTEN function. Another gene family, called Eph receptors, often shows high levels in cancers, but a connection between PTEN and Eph Receptors in cancer formation has never been shown. The Queen's study shows the remarkable relationship between these genes in worms.

When the research team increased Eph receptor levels in worms, the PTEN levels diminished and the worms died prematurely. When they decreased the Eph receptor level in the worm, the PTEN levels went up and the worm lived longer than normal. The team believes the same principals are applicable to humans.

"Obviously humans and worms look very different," states Professor Chin-Sang, "but at a molecular level, they are very similar. In some instances, like the ones we are studying, the cellular mechanisms are so similar that the human genes can replace the worm's gene."

The next step is to take a closer look at the interaction of these two genes in humans. The findings could lead to exciting breakthroughs in cancer treatment.

"There is a drug used in the treatment of breast cancer that some women develop a resistance to," adds Professor Chin-Sang. "Those same women have also lost their PTEN. Perhaps their Eph is overactive, and that has made the PTEN go down. The research on the worm may therefore provide a useful drug target for therapeutic intervention of breast cancer. In fact, this worm is becoming a bit of a scientific celebrity. Studies on this worm have won researchers three Nobel prizes in the last seven years."

Professor Chin-Sang's team includes Sarah Brisbin, Jun Liu, Jeff Boudreau, Jimmy Peng and Marie Evangelista from the Queen's Biology Department. The research was supported by the National Cancer Institute of Canada and Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The study is published online in the journal Developmental Cell, and was recently highlighted in Science.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queen's University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Queen's University. "Discovery In Worms Points To More Targeted Cancer Treatment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091110171744.htm>.
Queen's University. (2009, November 11). Discovery In Worms Points To More Targeted Cancer Treatment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091110171744.htm
Queen's University. "Discovery In Worms Points To More Targeted Cancer Treatment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091110171744.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 20, 2014) — A patient who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus is in isolation at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan

Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — A 111-year-old Japanese was certified as the world's oldest man by Guinness World Records on Wednesday. Sakari Momoi, a native of Fukushima in northern Japan, was given a certificate at a hospital in Tokyo. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Residents of Sierra Leone's capital voice their fears as the Ebola virus sweeps through west Africa. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins